After a day of high action & drama, HC rejects Swapna Suresh’s bail plea

She told the court that a person by name Shaji Kiran threatened her and told her to withdraw the statement made by her against CM Pinarayi Vijayan and other ministers in the gold smuggling case

Swapna Suresh is a key accused in the sensational gold-smuggling in the diplomatic bags case. In 2016, she joined the UAE Consulate-General Office mainly because of her exposure to the emirates and fluency in Arabic.

Swapna Suresh, who has accused Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of being involved in the gold smuggling case of 2016, told the Kerala High Court that “a man sent by the CM”  threatened and forced her to change her statement against him (Pinarayi Vijayan) or face dire consequences.

Swapna Suresh is a key accused in the sensational gold-smuggling in the diplomatic bag case. In 2016, she joined the UAE Consulate-General Office mainly because of her exposure to the emirates and fluency in Arabic.

Former Minister K T Jaleel, who was also named by Swapna in her earlier statement in the 2016 smuggling case, had lodged an FIR against her.

In an anticipatory bail plea filed before the HC on Thursday (June 9), Swapna said that a person named Shaji Kiran came to her office at Palakkad in a UP registration vehicle on June 8 and threatened her. Swapna told the court that Kiran had come on the instructions of Pinarayi Vijayan with an aim to “settle” the issue created by her statement given under section 164 of the CrPC.

The High Court dismissed Swapna’s anticipatory bail petition. The court admitted the prosecution’s argument that anticipatory bail is not maintainable in offences which are bailable.

Swapna says she was threatened by Kiran

Swapna Suresh’s lawyer said in the petition that Kiran came to her office in a Toyota vehicle (UP-41 R 0500) and pressurised the petitioners (Swapna and Sarith) to surrender before the Chief Minister. He informed that already a case had been registered against the first petitioner (Swapna Suresh) and said that they should surrender before the Chief Minister.”

Kiran also reportedly forced Swapna to tell that she had given statements under section 164 of the CrPC after being asked by her lawyer, the RSS and the BJP.

He (Kiran) threatened the petitioner (Swapna Suresh) with dire consequences and said that “so many cases would be foisted against them that they would remain in jail for long.”

Also read: Déjà vu in Kerala: Gold smuggling scam resurfaces; CPM says political games

Earlier, an FIR was lodged against Swapna Suresh and PC George, a former MLA, on a complaint filed by former minister K T Jaleel, who was accused by Swapna of being hand in glove with the Kerala CM and other ministers in dollar smuggling through diplomatic channels in 2016.

Of many charges levelled against the CM and others, Swapna had said that some ‘heavy metal’ was transported to the CM’s house from the house of the UAE diplomat in a biryani vessel. She said that the Chief Minister, his wife Kamala, daughter Veena, former Secretary of the Chief Minister Nalini Netto, the then Officer-on-Special Duty, S Sivasankar, and K T Jaleel were involved in dollar-and-gold smuggling cases.

The FIR against Swapna was registered under sections 153 (inciting riot) and 120 B (conspiracy) of IPC. Both the sections are bailable and an anticipatory bail application is not required in normal circumstances.

On why she filed an anticipatory bail application, Swapna said she is scared of being arrested and of being brought to Thiruvananthapuram (from her current residence at Palakkad).

“It is true that both the offences are bailable and the petitioner (Swapna Suresh) need not file an anticipatory bail application; but considering the situation and the circumstances that prevail in the state right now and since the media reports clearly show that Pinarayi Vijayan, who is the Chief Minister as well as the Home Minister, is hell-bound to see that the petitioners are taken into custody so as to coerce them to withdraw the statement given under section 164 of the CrPC,” said Swapna’s petition submitted in the HC.

Shaji Kiran denies charges levelled against him

Shaji Kiran, whom Swapna Suresh had accused of threatening her, introduced himself as a former media person who had worked with Asianet and Jai Hind channels. Kiran told media persons that he warned Swapna as a friend.

Kiran also said that he has no personal acquaintance either with the Chief Minister or any of the CPI-M leaders. “I met Pinarayi Vijayan in 2014 when I was working as a media person and was an office-bearer of the Press Club. I have not met him since,” said Kiran.

In the anticipatory bail petition, Swapna said that Shaji Kiran was introduced to her by the CM’s former Principal Secretary Sivasankar. Shaji Kiran denied this too. “I have known Swapna only for the last two months. I have never met Sivasankar in my life,” he said. Shaji Kiran expressed his apprehension that the allegations raised in the petition might not be written by Swapna.

Swapna Suresh speaks to the media

Later in the evening, Swapna Suresh spoke to the media and repeated the claims made in the anticipatory bail petition. Swapna said she was intimidated by Shaji Kiran on behalf of the Chief Minister and her lawyer. She said she would release the audio record of the conversation on Friday (June 10).

Also read: Gold smuggling: Swapna Suresh’s claim about CMO kicks up row

A special team of eleven members, headed by the ADGP of Crime Branch, has been formed to investigate charges levelled by Swapna Suresh. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) stated that a larger conspiracy was being hatched against the Chief Minister and the government by an RSS-backed NGO, named HRDS, where Swapna is employed.

On the other hand, the Congress has demanded the CM’s resignation. The Youth Congress organised protests across all district headquarters in the state.